THE MINER'S STORY
Grey and Lee
You ask me of Penderby Pit, sir
Sit down and we’ll have a chat
Penderby Pit is as deep, as is deep
Well, in fact sir, it’s deeper than that
What’s that? Have I been in the pit, sir?
I’ve been there for many a year
I never go anywhere else than the pit
For the circle’s a little bit dear.
It’s forty four years, aye and less, sir
Since that fearful explosion took place
And I risked my own life for the foreman’s wee lass
A flapper of forty named Grace.
I was having my breakfast at tea time
When the cry came, “The pit is on fire!”
So as soon as I’d changed my library book
I dashed to the scene to enquire.
The flames darted hither and thither
They thithered and hithered as well
And Dan’l the fool of the village exclaimed
“Little Meg’s in the pit down below!”
My face went all purple with horror
For the news it quite took me aback
They said she’d gone down for a scuttle of coal
And also a bucket of slack.
Then I sprang to the mouth of the pit, sir
“Who’ll lower the cages?” I said
But someone had pinched all the cages they had
So we borrowed the parrot’s instead.
‘Twas a terrible squeeze to get in it
But I did it with some bruises and cuts
Then they started to lower the cage down the mine
And somebody threw me some nuts.
They lowered us lower and lower
Yes, lower and lower we fell
Some wenches were working the winches that day
And the wench didn’t winch very well.
Of a sudden I heard a loud snap, sir
And I knew that the rope had gone through
‘Twas a quarter to one when I started to fall
And I landed at twenty past two.
I came down an ‘orrible crash, sir
And, dear mother, I suffered some pain
I was just looking round for a Boots Chemist shop
When under some slack I saw Jane.
Yes, I saw little Kate in the flames, sir
The sight almost caused me to swoon
“This is only the fourth of November,” I said
“they’re burning you one day too soon!”
Then the foreman cried out from above, sir
Shouting out in an agonised strain
“I’m sending the wife’s mother down there to help.”
So we poked up the fire again
At that moment the flames in the pit, sir
Went out with a hiss and a roar
Then the bioscope people appeared on the scene
So we kindled the fire once more.
There seemed no way to save little Cissy
For the ropes were all hopelessly seared
But the oldest inhabitant stood up above
And somebody noticed his beard.
‘Twas a beard he’d collected for ages
Of a matted and twisted design,
He lay down full length at the mouth of the pit
And lowered his beard down the mine.
Little Fanny swung on his whiskers
As she clung with the strength of despair,
And we all shouted, “Heave Ho, my hearties, heave ho!”
Dear Flossie was saved by a hair.
If you ask them in Penderby village, sir
Why they’ve never yet spoken the truth,
They’ll tell you that they’ve quite forgotten....
The day that I saved little Ruth.